Apple Mobile Healthcare Research, India 1997

The Challenge – Inaccurate capture of census and family planning data in rural India costs the government significant time and money. Between 1995-1998 a small team from Apple Research Labs., conducted ethnographic field and design research in Ajmer, Rajasthan.

The video “Padma’s Story” follows the day in the life of one of these midwives whom I followed with cameraman Jahar Kangungo to learn first hand how she did her work.

Inspiration for Icons from drawings created by midwives


From inspiration to an iconic labelling scheme designed by Alexander Grunsteidl

The Results – The software was prototyped on the Newton 2000 to support the unmet needs of the 360.000 auxiliary nurse midwifes, like Padma. It represented a possible $11M in sales and transfer of mobile technology into an emerging market. Usability tests revealed it performed well in early field trials and the technology was transferred to India where its development continued.

I presented our work at the 1998 ACM conference and a second paper was published in the SIGCHI Bulletin Vol. 30 No. 2 1998. The work continues to be sited by students of mobile healthcare research to this day.

Apple Mac OS7 Research Concept “3Desque” 1996

Mac OS7 Desktop UI

The Challenge – How to make greater use of screen space and provide a better context for displaying the relationship between user interface elements on Mac OS 7?

The research project was a collaboration with Dr. Gavin Miller who developed new “3D window” behavior and Ken Anderson who usability tested our prototypes.

The Results – Testing revealed that by moving from a 2D to 3D projection we were able to convey more information to Mac users whilst using less screen space and avoiding visual clutter.

3Desque was demonstrated at the 1996 Apple Developer Conference and published in the Journal of Visualization and Computer Animation in June 1999.

Apple “Big Table” Collaborative Workspace 1997

The Challenge – In 1997 I led a small interdisciplinary team to explore the possibilities and issues that arise when pixels become cheap and monitor geometries are no longer constrained by conventional CRT technology.

Moving documents from  table to device
Alexander Grunsteidl and Jeff Williams sharing documents from any side of the table

We prototyped a table to support people in real-world activities like collaborative working, document sharing and gaming.

Our explorations into hardware displays, multi user interactive work spaces, and integrated products sadly came to an end with the closure of Apple Research Lab  in 1997